Street art vs Fine art – So which do you prefer?

I’m no art expert nor am I an artist, but I’ve always admired art ever since I can remember.

At school I loved painting and drawing and learning about so many different artists. My love for art started when I learnt about William Morris in primary school, I instantly fell in love with his classic pattern designs. I always tried to replicate his patterns, and created several fancy borders on my work. Morris will always be one of my favourite artists and will remain the greatest pattern designers of the 20th century.


Golden Lily by William Morris

My art teacher in secondary school encouraged me (a lot!) to pursue art further but I decided to take another path as I just wanted to keep art as an interest – being a young teen, you’re always unsure. Nevertheless I continued visiting various exhibitions and admiring different art works.

Van Huysum, Still Life with Flowers in a Stone Vase 1731-2 Private Collection

Van Huysum, Still Life with Flowers in a Stone Vase 1731-2 Private Collection

When it came to fine art, I’ve always preferred paintings of nature or scenery. With fine art you see a work of excellence, the human ego is isolated, traditional art generally ends up being abstract and communicates a deeper meaning or a story. That’s what I enjoyed the most about viewing a fine art piece. When I had chance to work more closely with Dulwich Picture Gallery, I was able to admire the art works more closely and on a regular basis. I loved Van Huysum’s Vase with Flowers, there’s so much you can see and find, it’s a genius painting. I still go into the Gallery and learn something new from the many Masterpieces. You certainly enter a new world full of old paintings which depict people or a scene in great detail and depth. You don’t really find that with modern art.

Street art always wowed me, it’s always been the bright, bold and colourful art that I loved seeing while growing up. I admired the graffiti art I’d see around train stations and abandoned walls, they always had some sort of personal or political meaning behind them. With street art it’s all about the artist and what s/he feels, thinks and wants. I’ve seen many interesting street art around London, and it’s free for everyone to enjoy!

You have probably seen all the street art popping up in the Dulwich area in the last couple of years. And you have probably gathered that they are pretty much all based on paintings in the permanent collection of Dulwich Picture Gallery. What’s amazing about the Street art in Dulwich is the fact that the street artist reinterpreted works from the old paintings, which has led to a mutual appreciation of both styles. People who would never have seen either, have now experienced both.

Girl in a Window by Rembrandt re-imagined by Remi Rough and System

Girl in a Window by Rembrandt re-imagined by Remi Rough and System

Art is always evolving and attitudes towards both street art and fine art have begun to change. Personally, I prefer both street art and fine art. With fine art, I have specific favourites but with street art I’m more open to admire all the works.

So which do you prefer? Please leave your comments below or tweet us @dulwichonview.

Read more articles about Street art/Fine art here. Or buy the book Street Art Fine Art by Ingrid Beazley to find out more about fine art reinterpreted by today’s most cutting-edge street artists around Dulwich.

About this article

Shapa Begum

About Shapa Begum

Hi, I’m Shapa Begum, Blog Editor. Born and raised in East Dulwich, I love what I do here at Dulwich OnView, I’m absolutely passionate about south London and reaching out to local communities – you can read about my favourite Dulwich spots on Time Out London and Completely London blog. My role goes beyond editing, I write, review, participate in conferences/events, attend local happenings and oversee the marketing. There’s no rest for the wicked! When not working, I love to read, write, visit museums and spend time with my loved ones.
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